Surface Only

I’m going to cross-post to Facebook less and less. I’ve found the algorithm doesn’t really give me that much of a signal boost. Only about ten people are even getting my posts and even fewer of them are even clicking the links to get here. That’s okay. There are some things I write here that I don’t need broadcast over there. Some things are entirely too personal–though it’s funny to say that–for me to want to share a lot of what I write to people I went to high school with or my mom’s friends or others.

After all most people reading here are strangers, voyeurs even, who observe casually, but I also feel a little bit of a buffer too, since the few I have had conversations with that read these posts independent of Facebook prompting them are some very judgement free people. I am happy to call them my friends. Even if we have not yet met in person. I’m glad to have the conversations.

Sometimes the people I know in person want something else out of me. They expect me to be a certain way. Sometimes they think I overshare. That can make people uncomfortable.

The other day, an old friend was passing through town and introduced me to her new boyfriend. I’m not around people in person a lot, and her guy is one of those still waters run deep kind of guys. Very intelligent, but quiet, just kinda standing back and keeping his eyes and ears open. Nicole and I were much like we have always been. Chatty, oversharing, jabber-jabber-jabber. Some people I just click with and you can’t shut us up. I’ve have a few friends like that in my life. They are like gold.

I remember one girl from college, Emily. She and I would just freaking TALK. Jokes. Song lyrics. Stories. It’s a wonder we even breathed. I learned later that her roomate, Jill, was into me, so we drove to Boulder one night just because. Emily and I did NOT SHUT UP the whole time. Once we got to Boulder, Jill turned to us and said, “You two haven’t shut up the whole time!” Unbeknownst to me, I was apparently on a date with Jill that night and Emily was along for the ride. Jill found herself being the third wheel on her own date. She threatened to leave Emily and me in Boulder and we could find another way to get home if we didn’t shut up. Kids today would say that was her “toxic trait.”

No. I did not date Jill. That was a red flag.

So, the other day, Nicole and I are just oversharing the hell out of our lives and her guy handled it great. I guess on the drive home he was really open and talking about a lot of things he would normally be quiet about. Nicole reminded me later that the people who think you are too much aren’t the people for you. It was great to see her with a man who was so different, yet totally got her vibe.

Nicole knew me back in the days when I was dating the Professor. I’ve talked about those years here at length. Looking back now nearly four years later, I remember all the times Professor would warn me before meeting new people to just be “suface only”. Which meant pretty much making small talk around her friends and family. Since you’re a reader here, you know good and well I don’t do “small talk.”

On the drive home, she would reprimand me. “Why did you bring that up?” or “Why did you say X?”

Well, they asked.

But you don’t have to tell people everything that comes into your mind.

Then she would be “busy” for the next few weeks. Yes, this from the same woman who always got to choose what was appropriate to share with people. Like the stories of her sexual exploits with her ex-husband, which got her shock value and cred in mixed company. Which I thought was just tacky.

I’m sure there is some kind of happy medium between an introverted extrovert writer who has these stories clawing their way out of his brain at all times and Joe Six Pack who works all day, falls asleep in front of the TV and expects his woman to bring him a cold beer every couple commercial breaks and to keep them kids quiet.

But that ain’t me.

I’ve been reminded to not overshare for many, many years. I remember those chilly car rides back from social events with my ex-wife, who used to remind me of every perceived violation of good manners or simply taking attention away from her. It got to the point where I waved off from being social. If it meant being criticized for making friends or being chatty with people, well, the hell with it.

Nowadays, I can read a room within a few minutes, and if I’m going to be stuck having a “surface only” evening with people, I usually peace out and go do something else. Sometimes I might say goodbye. I like deep conversations, silly conversations, laughing at old stories, flirting mercilessly (and harmlessly), and laughing so hard that my ribs hurt.

You don’t get that from “What do you do for a living?” and conversations about things like the weather.

There’s a lot of that on social media. And anyone who reads here knows there’s not much room for that kind of bullshit in my life anymore. The people who get you get to be around you. I’m goofy, awkward, and a lateral thinker. I talk in anectdotes. I’m generally melancholy but I also love to laugh hard. I have opinions. I’m not for everybody.

Anyway, here’s a song I’ve fallen in love with lately. Enjoy.

Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete the Kisses

Thoughts on the decline

This post might get me some hate, but in lieu of what has been happening in our country, I wanted to get my thoughts down. I believe in a person’s right to defend themselves, both in self-defense and also the capacity to overthrow tyranny if needs be.

But something has been bothering me for a while about gun culture. I am a gun owner. I know how to fire, clean, and maintain my firearms. I have even been trained and licensed to carry for self-protection. What bothers me, and has for a long time, is the fetishization of guns in this country. I usually have a problem with this if that’s all people talk about. Much the same as religion. Much the same as their politics. And many other views that people latch onto so tightly that that becomes a focus of their personality.

The bummer is that someone’s vehement ideals of Star Wars and what is cannon and what isn’t usually don’t end up killing people. Maybe beaten about the head and neck with a Jar-Jar doll, but nobody has ever gone to a school and lightsabered 21 people (Anakin doesn’t count), because that was a fucking movie. Do you see the difference?

I really don’t enjoy talking guns with gun people most of the time. I think they are a tool, much like a fire extinguisher. It’s good to have around if you need one and unless you are a hunter, you should pray to God or whatever higher power you believe in that you never have to really use one.

Why is it you don’t see a bunch of rabid fire extinguisher enthusiasts yelling “from my cold dead hands!!!”

I’ve known people who were not in a good place and they started stockpiling guns. Honestly, it scares the fuck out of me and it’s just a matter of time before I see them on the news.

I feel like the last couple of years has been signs of the decline of the American Dream. Unlike a lot of people who fetishized their hatred for Trump, I think it started long before him. Maybe after Eisenhower. Vietnam didn’t do us any favors. Neither did privatizing prisons under the Reagan administration or the War on Drugs and the War on Terror and the War on everything but private companies who have manipulated and controled the American public for many years. From the gas companies to gun lobbyists to “clean energy” mandates that have wrecked our landscape to build completely unsustainable infrastructure to sell a bunch of windmills to the public. How somehow car companies convinced the public that mass transportation is somehow un-American, while everyone sits in their cars on interstates lined up like parking lots that are not only made out of crude oil but have been provided by at least three taxes to build.

It’s all rotten and someone is at the helm and running the whole thing into the ground. I don’t even think it’s a malicious plot. I think it’s just designed and directed by greed.

Just after WW2 you could take a passenger train just about anywhere in the country, cross cities for a nickel on a streetcar, and back then we actually had stable climates. Nobody questioned someone’s patriotism for wanting to take a train back then. Rivers and reservoirs were full of water. Sure, we had segregation and State sponsored racism too, but those things were established by the State and perpetuated by people who profited from the division of people. Just like today with the divisions we have now. At people’s cores, I believe, they really don’t hate each other unless they are conditioned into it. In America, a living wage with a single income family is almost unheard of. And we’ve been bullshitted into believing it’s “SOCIALISM” to think there is a problem with that.

We love the police until they don’t go into a school to save kids. We hate the police when they uphold laws of oppression. We love the courts when we get Justice for Johnny but think nothing of how a judge can send someone to prison for years for a crime that might not even be a crime during their incarceration. (See marijuana penalties). We cry about how kids are violent criminals, but judges rip families apart and consider fathers as nothing but sperm donors and check books. The same person who will fight for the rights of the unborn will advocate for guns that will just kill them a little later.

Our last Presidential election was between a game show host and a senile old man someone has to walk with so he doesn’t get lost on the way off the helicopter.

Nobody ever stops to wonder why the main way we have to get around is prohibitively expensive to use now, while the suppliers of the fuel are making record profits. Instead, they blame someone else. For a country that fetishizes freedom, they sure are helpless to actually do anything about any of it. Unless it is to hurt people who had absolutely nothing to do with their oppression.

The “solution” to any of these problems is just more laws that financially penalize people to feed an already bloated and inept government. Tax carbon emissions. Tax gun owners. Tax car owners. We are more taxed now than the British Monarchy ever taxed us to pay for a war that they fought for the 13 Colonies. We are told healthcare has to come from a new tax, even though we are taxed at the pump, for a license, and for plates just to drive cars we bought, paying extra for compulsory insurance that is a crime to not have.

William Wallace must be screaming “Freeeeeeddoooommmm!!!” at just the thought of that. Our taxes go to other countries to control their governments and industry. Subsidized companies make profits and get government hand outs, but we get the bootstrap lecture from our leaders when talking about homeless vets.

If you break the law, there’s a fine for that. You’ll go to prison and make the prison corporations wealthy because the State pays them to give you that cold balogna sammich and fruit cup every day to live on. Then you can’t even vote the bastards out of office once you get out. Turn a blind eye to whatever the hell Wall Street is doing with everyone’s pensions. Public health care isn’t in the Constitution as a right, but I don’t remember seeing building a new aircraft carrier every year in the Bill of Rights either. Public schools aren’t a “right” either but how the hell else are we going to inculcate our youth?

Nobody reads books anymore and nobody publishes books that people might read that would put thoughts in their heads that don’t support some narrative. God forbid you bring up Irreversible Damage. People would rather you read Mein Kampf or Das Kapital. They might even prefer it.

The whole thing just makes me sad. I don’t think it’s going to last much longer at least. Then the gun nuts might get the civil war they’ve been jerking off to for 150 years.